Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mock Printz: The House of Djinn by Suzanne Fisher Staples

Title: The House of Djinn
Author: Suzanne Fisher Staples
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 978-0-374-39936-8
Starred Review in: Publishers' Weekly
Shabanu, who you may remember from her earlier books, Shabanu and Haveli, is now a mother of a teenage girl herself but she is in "hiding". Her daughter, Mumtaz, thinks her mother is dead and is being raised by her paternal grandfather and uncle. This book tells the story of Mumtaz and Jameel, two teens whose destinies intersect. Jameel is the son of yet another uncle who lives in San Francisco and spends his summers with Mumtaz in the family compound. This large extended family is not your ordinary family. The grandfather is a wealthy, powerful Amirzai tribal leader and the huge family house is haunted by the djinn. When the grandfather dies, the whole family goes into tumult and these two teens are thrown into the thick of a fight for power. This book takes place in the capital, Lahore, and evokes all the sounds and sights of Pakistan. Even more so, the characters are so strongly depicted that you get a wonderful sense of the life there for the teenagers and the entire family. Jameel who does live in the USA is caught between the two worlds and he struggles with those differences. As Mumtaz learns of her mother's pretense at death, she comes to appreciate why it was a necessity to save her own life. As this story unfolds, there is great suspense and excitement and the characters are people not easily forgotten. The book stands on its own even if you have never heard of the earlier books although one might like this one so much that you would go back and read them.

Susan Rappaport, Rutherford Public Library

No comments: